Regional differences in gender equality

The municipalities with most equality are mainly found in the central and inland area of Eastern Norway. Many municipalities with the most equality are also found in the municipalities of Sogn og Fjordane, Troms and Finnmark. All of the six largest towns and cities – Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø – are also among the municipalities with most equality

More dimensions of equality

The indicators that are included in the index can illustrate a number of different dimensions. Nevertheless, we have placed the various indicators under the following six dimensions.

1. Institutional and structural frameworks for local equality

Governmental facilitating of potential equality

– Share of children aged 1-5 years in kindergarten

Structure of industry and educational patterns

– Share of employees in gender-balanced industries (one-digit level)

– Ratio between men and women in the public sector

– Ratio between men and women in the private sector

– Share of pupils in upper secondary school in a gender-balanced education programme

2. Men and women’s local adaptations

Distribution of time, work/care

– Ratio between the share of men and women in part-time employment

– Share of fathers taking statutory paternity leave or more (from parental leave in connection with childbirth)

– Ratio between men and women’s share in the labour force

Distribution of individual resources/influence

– Ratio between the share of men and women with higher education

– Share of female managers

Distribution of political influence

– Share of women in the municipal council

Distribution of money

– Ratio between men and women’s average gross income

For each indicator, the municipalities are given a score from 0, which indicates maximum difference between the sexes, to 1, which indicates maximum equality. Overall, the municipalities’ total scores for gender equality vary from 0.538 to 0.776. This means that even in the municipalities with least equality there is still a certain degree of equality, as no municipality has a score lower than 0.5. It also means that in the municipalities with most equality, no one receives the top score (1) for all indicators.

Gender equality index in Norwegian municipalities. 2009

Most equality in Eastern Norway, Sogn og Fjordane and in Northern Norway

When the municipalities are grouped into four equal groups by degree of equality, some regional patterns can be seen (see map).

The municipalities with most equality are mainly found in the central and inland area of Eastern Norway (Oslo, Akershus, Hedmark, Oppland Buskerud). Many municipalities with the most equality are also found in the municipalities of Sogn og Fjordane, Troms and Finnmark. Inland municipalities tend to have a higher degree of equality than coastal municipalities. The municipalities with least equality are found in the two Agder counties, Rogaland, Hordaland and Møre og Romsdal. The main pattern is therefore such that the municipalities with most equality are situated in Eastern Norway and in Northern Norway, while those with least equality are found in Southern and Western Norway, with the exception of Sogn og Fjordane.

When only the 108 municipalities that are categorised as having the most equality are considered, there are some differences between those in the north, west and east. Many municipalities in Akershus are among those with the most even balance between men and women with a higher education (Ås, Frogn, Skedsmo, Oppegård, Ski). Oslo and many municipalities in Akershus are also distinguished by having a more gender-balanced structure in industry (i.e. relatively many employees work in an industry that is gender-balanced). In the private sector, there is also a more even balance between men and women in these municipalities, while in the north the private sector is more male-dominated.

The municipalities with most equality in Sogn og Fjordane stand out in comparison with the other municipalities with equality as having a particularly high share of fathers taking the statutory paternity leave or more of the parental leave in connection with childbirth (Aurland, Gaular, Gulen and Leikanger).

With regard to income disparities, it is a general feature throughout Finnmark that there is little or no difference between men and women – this is not just something that applies to the six Finnmark municipalities with most equality (Sør-Varanger, Nesseby, Gamvik, Karasjok, Vadsø, Vardø). Eighteen of 19 municipalities in Finnmark are among the quarter of all municipalities with the least difference between men and women’s income. It can be worth noting that the general level of income among men in Finnmark is consistently lower than for men in other municipalities.

Municipalities in Southern and Western Norway with least equality

Municipalities at the other end of the scale (those with the least equality) are mainly situated in Southern and Western Norway. Sixty-three of the 106 municipalities with the least equality are situated in Aust-Agder, Vest-Agdre, Rogaland, Hordaland and Møre og Romsdal. Only nine of the 108 municipalities with most equality are in these regions (Kristiansand, Stavanger, Suldal, Bergen, Ulvik, Masfjorden, Molde, Stranda, Stordal).

High degree of equality in the largest municipalities

All of the six largest towns and cities – Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø – are among the municipalities with most equality, and consistently score high on most indicators despite there being some variation. For other indicators, however, these cities and towns lie below the median. In Oslo, Stavanger and Bergen, a smaller share of children aged 1-5 years go to kindergarten than is the case for half of the municipalities. The only city to have a lower share of fathers taking statutory paternity leave or more is Oslo (57 per cent in Oslo, while half of all municipalities have at least 59 per cent). Kristiansand and Stavanger both lie below the median for participation in the labour force and income (there is thus greater differences between men and women’s participation in the labour force and income than among the half of the municipalities with least differences). Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim all have a lower share of female managers than in most other municipalities. Oslo and Tromsø are the only places that score relatively high on this indicator.

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